Catamount Women’s Basketball Hit the Road, Meeting with Mild Success

The Lady Catamounts opened up the 2005-2006 season this past weekend at home in the 12th annual TD Banknorth Classic.

In the opener on Friday night

Vermont controlled play throughout, en route to a 71-59 victory over Patriot League member, Colgate.

Junior tri-captain Brittney Cross picked up right where she left off last season, recording her first career double-double, with 11 points and 13 rebounds from the point guard spot.

Sophomore Alexis Castro went off for a game and career-high 23 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists.

The Cats opened up a lead as large as 21 points (37-16) before the break, taking advantage of Colgate’s lack of depth (only 8 players dressed for the game), and led at the half by a score of 39-20.

Colgate began the second half on an 11-3 run, before Vermont responded with 12 straight backbreaking points, to extend the lead to 24.

Freshmen Jill Rademacher and Amy Rosenkrantz came up big in their debut in the Green and Gold, with 14 and 8 points respectively, while also combining for 12 rebounds.

Unfortunately for the Cats, the University of Pittsburgh stood waiting in the TD Banknorth Championship Game, led by 6’3″ behemoth Marcedes Walker the Big East’s leading rebounder last season, and 5’10” transfer Mallorie Winn.

The duo didn’t disappoint, combining for 31 points and what UVM coach Sharon Dawley called “the best 1-5 combo I’ve seen in a long time.” Both were named to the All-Tournament team for their efforts.

UVM stayed close in the opening minutes, but foul trouble to Ashley Cuncic (whose boyfriend David Hehn was in attendance for both games) and poor shooting (28% for the half) led to their demise and a 34-18 halftime deficit.

But, the team refused to quit and closed the gap to 7 points (40-33) with just over 13 minutes left in the game.

Pitt stopped UVM’s comeback bid with a 12-0 run of its own, all but ending the Cats hopes.

The Lady Panthers continued to add to their lead, eventually winning by a score of 70-49. Cuncic and Castro led Vermont with 11 points each and Cross again showed her impressive all-around game, adding seven points, three assists and three steals on her way to being the lone Catamount on the All-Tournament team.

Following the game Dawley commented, “Our run in the second half was awesome and got us back in the game, but we followed that with a turnover and a missed three and the balloon burst. We lost our composure and strayed from our defensive game plan and good teams like Pitt will take advantage of those situations. Overall, I’m proud of the way we competed in the tournament. I think our freshmen grew up a bit and gained some valuable experience this weekend.”

The 1-1 Catamounts head to Boston College on Wednesday to take on the newly christened ACC power, led by former UVM coach, Cathy Inglese.